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Envisioning a sustainable future

  • Posted on November 3, 2021
  • Estimated reading time 3 minutes
Envisioning A Sustainable Future

Big change requires bold thinking and new partnerships. That’s one reason I was honored to be part of a recent panel discussion with Ann Rosenberg, SVP of sustainability from Wood, and Gretchen O’Hara, VP of AI and sustainability at Microsoft, during Episode 3 of Envision Season 1. 

The sustainability conversation is something we’re having more and more with our clients and stakeholders, as leaders are asking:

  • How can we be purposeful about sustainability?
  • How do we set new sustainability goals?
  • How can we operate responsibly in everything we do?
  • What technologies can we harness to drive our sustainability activities?

At Accenture, Avanade, and Microsoft we’ve been talking about sustainability for a while. We’ve engaged with clients to bring cloud solutions into more sustainable approaches, such as helping Europ Assistance transfer 120 on-premise servers to the cloud, thereby eliminating maintenance costs, cooling problems and security threats, and opening up remote work for its employees. The opportunity to use technology in new and innovative ways to make a genuine human impact is not just a goal for Avanade, it’s our purpose.

ENVisioning a sustainability road map
We all know the phrase, “what gets measured, gets done.” That’s why we’re happy to partner with organizations like Wood to build a comprehensive picture of what sustainability looks like and a road map to get there. The ENVision tool that Accenture, Avanade, Microsoft and Wood built together uses Microsoft Azure to make sense of data from a variety of sources and deliver real-time insights about emissions and carbon releases emitted by any particular asset, organization or city.

Real-time, accurate insights are essential, as Ann said in our session: “The measurement will tell you where you are and how big the gap is. We can then begin to look at how we run our business processes, our operations models, how we go to market, and also how technology platforms are supporting these transformations that we are in the process of executing on.”

Once you know where you are now and where you want to go, how do you start closing the gap? With clients, we look at sustainability through three lenses – environment, society and economic impact.

From an environmental impact perspective, there’s plenty of room for improvement. As Gretchen pointed out, “There are 170,000 commercial buildings built every year in the United States demanding 40% of total U.S. energy consumption and 74% percent of total U.S. electricity consumption.”

The pandemic certainly changed a lot of perspectives on office space. We’re at a pivotal moment as we decide what’s next for the future workplace experience.

Getting everyone onboard
As a society, how do we engage everyone to be part of the solution? At a European water utility, Accenture, Avanade and Microsoft worked to create a platform that tracks individual water usage data for a million and a half citizens. Now consumers can make smarter decisions about their water usage, and the water utility gets real-time information on leaks, wastewater and potability.

For the economy, sustainability presents a major opportunity. Gretchen pointed out that the total addressable market for green tech and sustainability-led solutions will be more than $160 billion by 2030 in the U.S. alone. Are you ready to invest?

Spending time with Ann and Gretchen renewed my sense of hope about a sustainable future. You can see our full discussion here under Season 1, Episode 3.

I’m proud to be part of Avanade, where we’re contributing to our clients’ sustainability journeys as part of our own commitment to being a responsible business.

I’d love to hear from you – what goals does your organization have around sustainability and what steps are you taking to get there?

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